Russia blocks Normandy meeting at G20 summit, separate meetings scheduled
Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov has announced that no meeting in the Normandy format between the presidents of Germany, France and Russia is scheduled on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China, the leaders will have separate meetings, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Hangzhou on September 4, while a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel is slated for September 5, he said.
"But you got it right: if there are three Normandy format participants and they are meeting separately, then there will be no Normandy format in China," RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.
In his words, the sides initially agreed to hold a trilateral meeting to discuss the current situation in Ukraine in detail, as well as ways of further cooperation within the Normandy format and the Minsk process.
"But then our counterparts, referring to the schedule, chose to hold two bilateral meetings, in other words, a separate meeting with Hollande and a separate meeting with German Chancellor Merkel will be held. Ukraine tops the agenda of both meetings," he said.
Read alsoPutin behind Russia's provocations in Crimea: Chubarov (video)Ushakov said that "Russia, after events in Crimea, has completely refused to consider an idea of holding a meeting in the Normandy format with the participation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko."
"Ukraine is not a G20 member, but Poroshenko during a telephone conversation offered to use the Hangzhou summit for the purpose of holding a top-level meeting in the Normandy format. The meeting was not agreed upon, and after the known events in Crimea our president clearly voiced his attitude to such possible contact. We refused even to consider such a possibility," he added.